Hope and Other Punchlines
Sometimes looking to the past helps you find your future.Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka "Baby Hope") wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She's psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it's a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?

Hope and Other Punchlines Details

TitleHope and Other Punchlines
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 7th, 2019
PublisherDelacorte Press
ISBN-139780525644446
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Romance

Hope and Other Punchlines Review

  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Is it tacky to review your own novel? Probably! But alas I wrote this book, and it's the one that almost killed me, and took a whole year longer than it was supposed to, and I'm super ridiculously proud of it, so I'm giving myself FIVE STARS. I truly hope you like it too.
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  • Arlene
    January 1, 1970
    #iamemotionalThere are events in my life I’ll never forget... where I was, who I was with, what I felt. September 11, 2001 is one of those moments that has stayed with me... forever. This novel takes me back to that time and adds a whole new layer to the story. Every character played an important role in this novel. Their stories mean everything to me. This book will require some recovery on my part and will likely land on my top 5 this year. I’m sure.
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  • Kathleen Glasgow
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an exquisitely crafted look at public and private grief and what it means to grow up in the shadow of tragedy. Julie Buxbaum knows how to mix the sad with the funny in a brilliant, heart-melting way. Loved this so much.
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    “We need the serious to recognize the funny, and the funny to give us even a shot in hell at surviving the serious.”September 11, 2001 changed lives. Holes were created in communities, families, and hearts. But love, courage, and compassion can be found in times of great loss and pain too. The little moments—a helping hand up, a hug, a kind word, or even a laugh to break the tension--make a difference. Abbi and Noah reminded me that laughter can be found in and after our worst moments.Abbi Hope “We need the serious to recognize the funny, and the funny to give us even a shot in hell at surviving the serious.”September 11, 2001 changed lives. Holes were created in communities, families, and hearts. But love, courage, and compassion can be found in times of great loss and pain too. The little moments—a helping hand up, a hug, a kind word, or even a laugh to break the tension--make a difference. Abbi and Noah reminded me that laughter can be found in and after our worst moments.Abbi Hope Goldstein is Baby Hope. A photograph captured her, on her first birthday, being carried out and away from the 9/11 devastation. The image, of little Abbi holding tight to her birthday balloon, gave hope to so many during a time of pain and fear. Now 15 years later, Abbi is still trying to find a way to live her life as “Abbi” not Baby Hope. She is much more than an iconic image. She’s grown up and changed, but no one seems to see or hear that. But this is Abbi’s summer. She wants one summer to herself to be herself without Baby Hope. So she heads off to summer camp, where she can blend in and start fresh. No one will know her as Baby Hope. But of course, who does she find at camp? Someone who recognizes her…Noah. I just want to say right here and now that this boy’s story made my heart hurt. *deep sigh* Noah Stern’s life also changed under that clear-as-can-be-blue-blue Tuesday morning sky in September 2001. And now he wants answers. With a little blackmail and lots of gummy bears, Noah sets off to find the truth and hopefully more (trying not to spoil!). But he needs a little help from Baby Hope.This quick moving story pulled me in at word one. The short chapters move you along to new friends, old friends, survivors, and memories. And that’s the word that keeps popping up here for me—memory or memories. Some people will never forget what happened on 9/11. Some can’t bear to think of it. And others, like Abbi, have no memory of 9/11, but it’s still a huge part of their lives. The memory of that day echoes in so many different lives in so many different ways. But memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes we hold on tight to a story or belief—whether it’s true or not---because it’s all we have of someone or something. Strength, memory, before & after, and the pieces of our lives after a loss all run through the heart of this book. Memories of who we were and memories of the ones we lost. We do what we have to do to survive the hole in our lives after a tragedy, but stories and memories change along with our hearts. We grow and hopefully heal.“My heart has unclenched itself from a fist to an open hand. But something happens when the story you tell yourself turns out not to be your story at all. You have to figure out what to replace it with. Something needs to grow in the space left behind.”This powerful little book packs a wallop. There is a lot going on with identity and grief and surviving. For me, the best friend storyline made an already full book too full. Cat’s story needed more time. But alongside all that seriousness….there are a lot of laughs and smiles here too. Abbi, Noah, and Jack form a hysterical trio. Noah and Jack’s friendship and banter are pitch-perfect and punny. But…*shakes head laughing*…I never thought Phil would end up being my favorite comedian. :DHope you meet these people and hear their stories.Highly recommended.**Quotes taken from ARC**
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  • Kara Gemian
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fantastic read. As someone who has lived in Northern New Jersey all her life and remembers seeing papers floating in the sky on 9/11 after my Elementary school was evacuated to the field for a bomb threat, this book really meant a lot. I am lucky that I didn't know anyone personally that was lost that day and none of my close friends did either, but that of course does not take away from the tragedy.This is the first book I have read regarding the subject and I honestly didn't know it This was a fantastic read. As someone who has lived in Northern New Jersey all her life and remembers seeing papers floating in the sky on 9/11 after my Elementary school was evacuated to the field for a bomb threat, this book really meant a lot. I am lucky that I didn't know anyone personally that was lost that day and none of my close friends did either, but that of course does not take away from the tragedy.This is the first book I have read regarding the subject and I honestly didn't know it was about the aftermath of that day until I started reading, but Julie Buxbaum is an auto-buy/auto-read author and that cover is just gorgeous!I absolutely loved Abbi and Noah's story. I laughed out loud and cried and then laughed some more. Buxbaum did a wonderful job of laying out the grief of this fictional town and fictional picture while still keeping everything completely real and accurate. There is a town in NJ that has the highest number of deaths from that day, a thought that I had never entertained before, there is something called 9/11 Syndrome. This book is real and important. Hope and Other Punchlines is heavier than Buxbaum's other YA novels, but don't let that stop you from reading. IT WAS SO GOOD. Read it and you won't be disappointed.*Thank you to Edelweiss for the opportunity to read!*
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Another fantastic contemporary from Julie Buxbaum. This book manages to be light and sweet (and features an adorable romance), while also tackling some heavy subjects - grief, loss, illness, breaking up with friends - set 15 years beyond 9/11, in a town and with characters that still feel its impact in a raw and personal way.
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  • Azrah
    January 1, 1970
    14 Nov, 2018COVER REVEAL 1 Oct, 2018YAASSS! This sounds great!
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! Sad, funny, happy, and hopeful...so good! I wish it were out now so I could give it to everyone I know who will love it!
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Several novels have been written about September Eleventh. This is one of the better ones. Hope and Other Punchlines tells the story of a teenage girl whose image was captured in an iconic photograph taken as the Towers collapsed. Baby Hope, as she came to be known, was rescued from the disaster by a day care worker on her first birthday. Abbi "Hope" Goldstein survived as did both of her parents. Though she herself has no memory of that day she has become a symbol of hope and resilience for many Several novels have been written about September Eleventh. This is one of the better ones. Hope and Other Punchlines tells the story of a teenage girl whose image was captured in an iconic photograph taken as the Towers collapsed. Baby Hope, as she came to be known, was rescued from the disaster by a day care worker on her first birthday. Abbi "Hope" Goldstein survived as did both of her parents. Though she herself has no memory of that day she has become a symbol of hope and resilience for many. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Abbi hopes to remain anonymous in her summer job as a camp counselor. However, on the very first day, she meets Noah, a fellow counselor who knows exactly who she is. Noah agrees to keep Abbi's identity secret on the condition she helps him interview other survivors of 9/11. Noah has a story of his own and is on a mission to unearth the identity of one of the individuals pictured in the Baby Hope photograph.As the pair embark on their journalistic endeavor sparks ignite and why ever not because Noah is one cool geek! He is one of the sweetest, funniest literary potential boy friend characters I've encountered. And, for the record, he does have some excellent punchlines.Hard to believe that the majority of the intended audience for this young adult novel had yet to be born in 2001. For them, "hope"fully, this novel will help them to view it as more than simply an event in a history book.
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    Julie Buxbaum has written a beautiful novel about life and death, happiness and sadness, and about loving and letting go. The characters of Abbi, her parents and grandmother, as well as Noah and Jack are richly developed. I am chuckling as I remember some of Abbi’s grandmother’s best lines. The premise is unusual; two teens with a 9/11 connection meet at a day camp for preschoolers. They build a friendship in spite of the shared connection, and work together to fill in missing pieces of that hor Julie Buxbaum has written a beautiful novel about life and death, happiness and sadness, and about loving and letting go. The characters of Abbi, her parents and grandmother, as well as Noah and Jack are richly developed. I am chuckling as I remember some of Abbi’s grandmother’s best lines. The premise is unusual; two teens with a 9/11 connection meet at a day camp for preschoolers. They build a friendship in spite of the shared connection, and work together to fill in missing pieces of that horrific day. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to be an early reader, thanks to Julie and her publisher. I very excited to send Abbi on her way to my friends as she begins her reading journey and continues to spread hope. (Pun intended, for Noah and his dad.)
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  • Kaja (red panda) *:・゚✧
    January 1, 1970
    Someone tell me, why the release date on (german) amazon is 14.5.2019. SOMEONE TELL ME.
  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    This. Book. It is not often that you find books that deal with topics not previously read. I picked up this book because 1) pretty cover 2) loved the title (punchlines!) and 3) the author is relatively well-known. I typically do not read the backs of books because I like to be surprised, I want as little information before reading as I can get. This book, I had no idea. Absolutely no idea that it would be about 9/11. I honestly am not sure I would have read it knowing it was about that day becau This. Book. It is not often that you find books that deal with topics not previously read. I picked up this book because 1) pretty cover 2) loved the title (punchlines!) and 3) the author is relatively well-known. I typically do not read the backs of books because I like to be surprised, I want as little information before reading as I can get. This book, I had no idea. Absolutely no idea that it would be about 9/11. I honestly am not sure I would have read it knowing it was about that day because I have such strong memories of that day (even though I was not directly impacted by the event) and I didn’t want to see it fictionalized. However, once I started reading, I was hooked. When I finished reading, I did not have any negative feelings about 9/11 being part of the storyline-it was handled beautifully and made me want to research more about the survivors and families. Other things I liked:I really enjoyed the dual characters that both grew so much throughout the story. It was well done and not “too much” to handle. I also enjoyed the short chapters and secondary characters. In my opinion, strong and well-developed secondary characters make a novel stand apart as great. I will definitely recommend this book as one of our book club reads when it is released and look forward to seeing the reactions of others. I received this copy through my ARC sharing group, The Lit Review Crew. Happy reading!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, this was unexpected in the way that it tackles the very sensitive subject of 9/11 and the impact it had on the world. Abbi, aka "BABY HOPE" is famous for a photo that was taken of her being carried to safety while the Twin Towers collapsed behind her. She is almost 16 and is suddenly starting to have coughing fits to which she attributes to that fateful day. She wants to have one last summer before the reality of her illness kicks in so she decides to spend her time at summer camp, where sh Wow, this was unexpected in the way that it tackles the very sensitive subject of 9/11 and the impact it had on the world. Abbi, aka "BABY HOPE" is famous for a photo that was taken of her being carried to safety while the Twin Towers collapsed behind her. She is almost 16 and is suddenly starting to have coughing fits to which she attributes to that fateful day. She wants to have one last summer before the reality of her illness kicks in so she decides to spend her time at summer camp, where she meets Noah, who blackmails her into helping him find out who an unidentified man in her famous baby picture is. Noah lives in Abbi's town and knows she is "Baby Hope" and in order to keep that quiet he hopes she an help him find out more information about the picture and the day This story was very interesting in the way it dealt with the aftermath of the tragedy and the way fictionalized survivors dealt with it. I found it beautifully written and heartbreaking at moments. I am a huge fan of Buxbaum and her Tell Me Three Things (loved the reference in this book!) and I was happy to see she was able write another realistic ya story that takes the reader on an emotional ride. I enjoyed this one and I am thankful to netgalley for this arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    This story was great but it didn’t hook me like Tell Me Three Things did. Julie Buxbaum is a talented writer and I will continue reading her books despite the slight disappointment in this one. The writing is filled with lots of emotion, although the characters and their decisions caused me not to care. Abbi suffers from a serious condition and decides to enjoy her summer before informing her parents that she could possibly be dying. If she had just told them right away the problem would have be This story was great but it didn’t hook me like Tell Me Three Things did. Julie Buxbaum is a talented writer and I will continue reading her books despite the slight disappointment in this one. The writing is filled with lots of emotion, although the characters and their decisions caused me not to care. Abbi suffers from a serious condition and decides to enjoy her summer before informing her parents that she could possibly be dying. If she had just told them right away the problem would have been fixed before it progressed. Noah was annoying while Jack took the place of a lovestruck teenage girl. He only talked about his crush Brendan and was a deadweight to the plot. Abbi’s ex-friends were too. The twists were predictable from the beginning and Abbi’s grandmother was the best part of the story.Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    A sweet and heartfelt story about growing up in the shadow of 9/11. Abbi and Noah, babies in 2001, both have strong connections to the events of the day; Abbi is famous from a photograph of her rescue from the towers, and Noah lost his father. As the now teens continue to move forward with their lives, the past continues to weave itself into their narrative. Together, they tackle some of their biggest fallout from that day.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI loved the characters and their teen-appropriate responses to a life-changing event (in this case the long-reaching effects of 9/11, which happened when they were babies) as well as current challenges and falling in love. Realistic family dynamics and well-developed supporting characters make this an above-average YA read. I really enjoyed it.*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ravyn Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    I laughed and I cried, there was some terrible puns and some tear-jerking moments. The characters had a great arc, the story was well written, and I'd definitely recommend this novel to a friend! I loved the cover as well 😊❤ I laughed and I cried, there was some terrible puns and some tear-jerking moments. The characters had a great arc, the story was well written, and I'd definitely recommend this novel to a friend! I loved the cover as well 😊❤️
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  • Mel (Abookishaddiction)
    January 1, 1970
    This book was absolutely amazing. It made me laugh and cry. I made me feel hope for the characters and it made me feel loss. This was the first book that I’ve read that revolves around the “after” of 9/11. I also loved how this book took place in New Jersey. When Abbi and Noah we’re driving down the Garden State Parkway, I actually knew where they were driving and could easily see what they were seeing. I’ve never experienced a book like this before. And even though the topic of the book Is such This book was absolutely amazing. It made me laugh and cry. I made me feel hope for the characters and it made me feel loss. This was the first book that I’ve read that revolves around the “after” of 9/11. I also loved how this book took place in New Jersey. When Abbi and Noah we’re driving down the Garden State Parkway, I actually knew where they were driving and could easily see what they were seeing. I’ve never experienced a book like this before. And even though the topic of the book Is such a hard topic to talk about, a topic that brings so many hard emotions, I didn’t feel the full impact of sadness and that definitely had to do with the humor that was radiating off the pages because from Noah. I honestly felt like I knew Noah, he was definitely my favorite character. And the romance and friendship in this book just added to the many reasons why I loved it. I can’t wait to purchase a finished copy of this book when it’s released. Thank you Edelweiss for this advance readers ebook copy. Everyone should read this book!
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    Julie, how can I get an advanced copy. I just discovered you, read everything else and cont wait until May to read this!!!!
  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    Julie Buxbaum has done it again! I opened this book yesterday, and had finished it by this morning. It's funny (and punny), heartwarming, at times heartbreaking, and absolutely un-put-down-able.
  • bjneary
    January 1, 1970
    Just as I loved Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next (It was my favorite Book of 2017) by awesome YA author, Julie Buxbaum; I truly enjoyed Hope and Other Punch Lines!!! Thank you to Julie Buxbaum, Random House, and #BookJunkies for allowing me to be an early reader. Julie Buxbaum writes books teens will see themselves in; Abbi Hope Goldman and Noah Stern are so authentic as they navigate issues like loss, friendship, and family. Abbi and Noah meet as summer camp counselors and from there t Just as I loved Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next (It was my favorite Book of 2017) by awesome YA author, Julie Buxbaum; I truly enjoyed Hope and Other Punch Lines!!! Thank you to Julie Buxbaum, Random House, and #BookJunkies for allowing me to be an early reader. Julie Buxbaum writes books teens will see themselves in; Abbi Hope Goldman and Noah Stern are so authentic as they navigate issues like loss, friendship, and family. Abbi and Noah meet as summer camp counselors and from there the reader learns Abbi doesn’t like to stand out and Noah is a comedian who always wants to make others laugh, joke, and make puns. They both have secrets but it is in their blooming friendship we learn about both their past and their present. Abbi and Noah have both been impacted in very different ways by what happened on 9/11 and their perspectives will lead readers to keep turning those pages as they learn more about how Abbi and Noah and others were affected by this life altering historical event (the before and the after). This book is sweet, funny, sad, and surprising; teens will applaud Abbi, Noah, and their friends, Julie and Jack. I totally rooted for Abbi; she does not know she is comfortable in her own skin and that she is strong. It is her time spent with Noah that gives her hope, makes her laugh and smile, and with Jack and Noah’s special friendship, helps her find her true self. Thanks for allowing this reader into Abbi and Noah’s world through their thoughts, beliefs, and hearts. Highly recommended!
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  • Charlotte Huang
    January 1, 1970
    I adore everything about Julie's books, but especially the depth and warmth she brings to characters and their relationships. Hope and Other Punch Lines was no exception. I fell hard for Abbi Hope Goldstein and Noah Stern and you will too. Can't recommend this heart-melting and wonderful book highly enough!
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  • Neha Thakkar
    January 1, 1970
    It dragged on a bit and I had trouble finishing it. I do think it’s intended audience will enjoy it, particularly if they have a connection to 9/11. It may also be a good read aloud to center discussions of the event and help students understand the layers of the tragedy. I received an ARC from Barbara’s Bookstore, all thoughts are my own.
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  • Candace
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this! I’ve read all of Julie’s books and I love how she balances serious topics with humor. Her characters are well flushed out with strong unique personalities. The 9/11 theme in this book was done well. As someone on the other side of the country I didn’t experience what they did there. Not that lasting effect. It’s easier for us to forget. But also not realize what it was really like. I thought she was respectful while providing a realistic picture. The story is fictional but I really enjoyed this! I’ve read all of Julie’s books and I love how she balances serious topics with humor. Her characters are well flushed out with strong unique personalities. The 9/11 theme in this book was done well. As someone on the other side of the country I didn’t experience what they did there. Not that lasting effect. It’s easier for us to forget. But also not realize what it was really like. I thought she was respectful while providing a realistic picture. The story is fictional but easily could have been real. At least it seemed that way to me. I feel like she captured the emotions very well. The trauma that has lasted all these years even as people have moved forward in life. As a bonus there’s an adorable romance that develops slowly through the book. Really loved the characters personalities as well. Noah’s humor was simply adorable!
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  • Nina O'Daniels
    January 1, 1970
    The possibility that a fictional account or story related to 9/11 would be best at home in a historical fiction category is mind-blowing to me. It’s easy to forget that it happened so many years ago when it feels like so few. Another thing that is mind boggling is the freshman in my school weren’t even born!! What? I just can’t. Thankfully, Julie Buxbaum’s new book, Hope and Other Punchlines doesn’t force any decision on you as it is set in present day with 9/11 as a backdrop. For your students The possibility that a fictional account or story related to 9/11 would be best at home in a historical fiction category is mind-blowing to me. It’s easy to forget that it happened so many years ago when it feels like so few. Another thing that is mind boggling is the freshman in my school weren’t even born!! What? I just can’t. Thankfully, Julie Buxbaum’s new book, Hope and Other Punchlines doesn’t force any decision on you as it is set in present day with 9/11 as a backdrop. For your students who don’t know much about it, this would be a good starting point. It doesn’t go into detail or summarize anything that happened but shows the aftermath, fifteen years later. Abbi is famous. On her first birthday, nestled in the daycare of Tower A, she settled into her morning but after the first plane hit, she and the others were evacuated. Her being carried by a soot covered daycare worker, with a red balloon clutched in her tiny hands while the tower is collapsing, is what makes her famous. She and the other survivors in that picture have become a symbol for hope. Strangers stop her on the street, kids at school tell her the picture is hanging up in their home, survivors confess private prayers to her, and she has no idea what to say to these people. She wishes to be anonymous but that is an impossibility in her (fictional) northern New Jersey town of Oakville. It had the largest number of deaths outside of New York and the town is forever marred but somehow survives. Her parents were both in the towers but fate was on their side. Nowadays, Abbi and her parents live a somewhat disjointed life. Her parents are divorced but only live two houses down from the other and they frequently eat dinner or breakfast together. Abbi simply shuffles from house to house and it works for everybody. Noah Stern lives in the same area as Abbi and lost a father he never knew to the 9/11 attacks. Noah lives in constant wonder of his father, especially since his mother doesn’t speak about him much. His mother remarried but he’s not close to his step-father, he’s not a bad guy, it just doesn’t feel right to Noah. Abbi and Noah meet at a summer day camp for kids, both hoping to accomplish more than just making some money this summer. Abbi’s goal is for no one to figure out who she is and to hide her coughing up blood just a few more weeks. She’s not ready to find out if she’s next on the list to get 9/11 syndrome - the silent disease that has killed thousands of people who were in contact with the burning chemicals during the attack. She can’t handle that kind of information right now. Noah’s goal is somewhat misleading. He’s looking for each of the people on the Baby Hope picture in hopes of interviewing them. But there is one person, in particular, he’s interested in finding: The man wearing the University of Michigan hat, jeans, and an untucked shirt. He recognizes Abbi immediately and asks for her help with the interviews. She’s slow to say yes, but the two are becoming fast friends and he’s cute and hard to say no to. As they interview people, the stories of these survivors shed light on how each person deals with a life and death situation- how it molds you for the rest of your life, how all your decisions are somehow tied to it, even if you don’t recognize it.Julie Buxbaum manages to take something out of reach for most of her younger readers and give it a living, breathing soul. The focus of her story is Abbi and Noah but also about the grief that still lives on for those affected the most. The widows and the children left behind. The empty caskets at the funerals and what happens when someone knocks on your door years later with the unimaginable (I learned some pretty grisly facts about funerals that won’t be leaving me soon). The 9/11 syndrome is real too. According to her author notes “as many as four hundred thousand people are believed to be affected by medical conditions connected to September 11, and almost seventy different kinds of cancers have been linked to exposure at Ground Zero.” Abbi’s fears are real and it sickens and pains me that these people who survived a terrorist attack are still at risk. Add this one to your collection regardless of the historical relevance; it’s just a good book. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    For many people the world is divided into Before and After, the dividing line being September 11, 2001. Such is the case for Abbi Hope Goldstein and Noah Stern.On her first birthday Abbi was saved by a worker in her World Trade Center complex daycare center. As she is carried out, wearing a crown and holding a red balloon, the South Tower collapsing behind, a photographer takes the picture that has branded her Baby Hope, the symbol of resilience. Abbi spends her childhood and adolescence in rela For many people the world is divided into Before and After, the dividing line being September 11, 2001. Such is the case for Abbi Hope Goldstein and Noah Stern.On her first birthday Abbi was saved by a worker in her World Trade Center complex daycare center. As she is carried out, wearing a crown and holding a red balloon, the South Tower collapsing behind, a photographer takes the picture that has branded her Baby Hope, the symbol of resilience. Abbi spends her childhood and adolescence in relative fame; strangers hug and cry, share their stories with her, frame and hang the photograph in their homes, and news outlets hold “Where is Baby Hope Now” stories.Noah was a baby in the hospital, fighting for his life, on 9/11 when his father went back to his office in the World Trade Center for his lucky hat, never to return home. He and his mother now live with her new husband and Noah is obsessed with comedy.At age 15, Abbi is experiencing a suspicious cough, keeping it a secret from her parents and grandmother. Connie, the daycare worker, has recently died from cancer, or most likely 9/11 syndrome, and Abbi takes a job as a camp counselor in a nearby town, looking for some anonymity and a chance at a “happily ever after” to the story that began with “Once un a time” (9/11). Unfortunately, Noah is a fellow counselor, recognizes her, and blackmails her into helping him interview the four people also in the iconic Baby Hope picture, convinced that the man in background wearing a Michigan cap is his father and also convinced, since his mother won’t talk about him, that his father chose not to come home after escaping from the Tower.This is a novel about 9/11, one that presents yet more facets than the eleven other 9/11 novels that I reviewed in “Eleven Novels for Nine Eleven” (http://www.yawednesday.com/…/eleven-n...…), such as 9/11 syndrome, heroism and sacrifice, survivor guilt, and “[What] happens when the story you tell yourself turns out not to be your story at all.” (280)This is primarily a novel about relationships—shifting relationships with family, friends, ex-friends, strangers, and romantic partners. I absolutely adored these characters—Noah and Abbi especially (and their evolving relationship) and Noah’s BFF Jack, Abbi’s divorced-but-best-friends-and-maybe-more parents, her grandmother who is experiencing the onset of dementia, and even Noah’s stepfather who learns to make jokes. I was sorry when the novel ended, not that the story was unfinished but my relationship with the characters was.
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  • Kerri
    January 1, 1970
    There aren't many Sept. 11 books for teens and kids out there (yet) so there isn't much to compare this book to, which I think is in its favor. I thought all of the Sept. 11 stuff was handled beautifully, balancing showing teens (all of whom were either not born or were infants in 2001 and many of whom have no personal ties to the event) and unflinching account of the tragic event and the ongoing grief for so many people, with being sensitive to readers who are picking this up who are older or j There aren't many Sept. 11 books for teens and kids out there (yet) so there isn't much to compare this book to, which I think is in its favor. I thought all of the Sept. 11 stuff was handled beautifully, balancing showing teens (all of whom were either not born or were infants in 2001 and many of whom have no personal ties to the event) and unflinching account of the tragic event and the ongoing grief for so many people, with being sensitive to readers who are picking this up who are older or just have more of an emotional attachment to the day. There were a lot of aspects of the story surrounding the Sept. 11 plot that I didn't mesh with, though. I thought a few of the characters were poorly constructed, and some of the dialogue was a little very teen try-hard and felt inauthentic. The romance sub-plot was OK, but I wasn't super invested in it. And while I commend the discussion of Sept. 11 Sickness, which is such a pressing concern for thousands today, I don't know if it was handled particularly well. Overall I think this is a good early book in what is sure to be a growing sub-genre as we get further away in time from 2001 and there are more teens who benefit from being exposed to that history through YA.
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  • Barb
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley for review purposes. Thanks!I am a big Julie Buxbaum fan, and if she writes it, I’ll happily read it! This was a sweet rom-com, and it feels ridiculous to say that about a story that has so many characters that faced loss on 9/11. I enjoyed the alternating chapters, the text message flirting, and their friends, Jack & Julia!And this quote, which I hope makes it to the released edition:“True. But you can be serious and funny at the same ti I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley for review purposes. Thanks!I am a big Julie Buxbaum fan, and if she writes it, I’ll happily read it! This was a sweet rom-com, and it feels ridiculous to say that about a story that has so many characters that faced loss on 9/11. I enjoyed the alternating chapters, the text message flirting, and their friends, Jack & Julia!And this quote, which I hope makes it to the released edition:“True. But you can be serious and funny at the same time. We need the serious to recognize the funny, and the funny to give us even a shot in hell at surviving the serious,” he says. “It’s a really simple theory if you think about it. They’re mutually dependent, not mutually exclusive.”And this follow-up:“‘Stories are the currency of connection’? You read that in some book?” I wonder if Chuck used to have a good sense of humor. If it was grief that turned him mean and replaced the funny parts with derision. Or if, like his being muscular, he was born that way. No trauma required.-Noah
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    This book was received as an ARC from Random House Children's in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.From beginning to end of this book I was in tears. Everyone has their own story of the traumatic event of 911 and where they were when the twin towers came crumbling down. I loved Hope's story about how she became the child in the famous photograph of baby hope and now has turned her into a celebrity but too much recognition can hurt This book was received as an ARC from Random House Children's in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.From beginning to end of this book I was in tears. Everyone has their own story of the traumatic event of 911 and where they were when the twin towers came crumbling down. I loved Hope's story about how she became the child in the famous photograph of baby hope and now has turned her into a celebrity but too much recognition can hurt someone very badly so she decides to escape to summer camp where she meets Noah who has a complete opposite story with one thing in common 911. For Noah, 911 cost him everything he had and he sets out to find the girl known as baby hope to seek real hope in his life that everything will be ok but he got more than what he sought out for. A compelling story that will leave you breathless and in tears from beginning to end.We will consider adding this book to our YFiction collection in our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second Julie Buxbaum book that I devoured without really meaning to. I've been noticing that the statute of limitations on telling September 11 stories ended at about the 15 year mark, with several adult novels allowing the events of 9/11 to peek into their plotlines. This, however, might be the first book I've read - adult or YA - where the September 11th attacks are such a prominent presence in the lives of its characters. And yet what could be terribly sad is instead a book about This is the second Julie Buxbaum book that I devoured without really meaning to. I've been noticing that the statute of limitations on telling September 11 stories ended at about the 15 year mark, with several adult novels allowing the events of 9/11 to peek into their plotlines. This, however, might be the first book I've read - adult or YA - where the September 11th attacks are such a prominent presence in the lives of its characters. And yet what could be terribly sad is instead a book about (yes, groan) hope. I was absolutely smitten with Abbi and Noah, both babies on September 11, 2001, as they try - a decade and a half after the attacks - to make sense of what was lost that day while coming together in the CUTEST way. This book is utterly sweet and generous and just lovely.
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